On May 30, 1913, Red Sox outfielder Harry Hooper became the first major leaguer to lead off both games of a doubleheader with a home run. The feat would not be repeated until 80 years later, in 1993, when A’s leadoff hitter Rickey Henderson opened each game of a twin bill against Cleveland with a homer.
The ball started climbing from the moment it left the plate. It was a pop fly with a brand new gland and, though it flew high, it also flew far.
When last seen the ball was crossing the roof of the stand in deep right field at an altitude of 315 feet. We wonder whether new baseballs conversing in the original package ever remark: “Join Ruth and see the world.”
Here’s a delightful little documentary about the Polo Grounds. I’ve always loved the metaphor of a baseball stadium as a church or cathedral. I feel the same way about Kauffman Stadium every time I attend a Royals game.
It’s always a shame when stadiums like this get torn down. I understand that progress sometimes dictates the need for such things, but so much history gets lost in the process, too.
A sincere thank you to all who serve!
On May 24, 1902, Cleveland third baseman Bill Bradley became the American League’s first player to hit a home run in each of four consecutive games. This record would not be matched until Babe Ruth accomplished the same in June of 1918.
I have played baseball on a summer day starting at eight o’clock in the morning, running home at noon for a quick meal, playing again till six o’clock in the evening, and then a run home for a quick meal and again with fielding and batting till it was too dark to see the leather spheroid.
This piece makes me want to go back in time a few months — back to the last days of winter as Spring Training was just getting underway and the threat of the coronavirus still seemed too far away to be of any concern.
We’ll get it back next year.
Late February, and the air’s so balmy
snowdrops and crocuses might be fooled
into early blooming. Then, the inevitable blizzard
will come, blighting our harbingers of spring,
and the numbed yards will go back undercover.
In Florida, it’s strawberry season—
shortcake, waffles, berries and cream
will be penciled on the coffeeshop menus.
In Winter Haven, the ballplayers are stretching
and preening, dancing on the basepaths,
giddy as good kids playing hookey. Now,
for a few weeks, statistics won’t seem
to matter, for the flushed boys are muscular
and chaste, lovely as lakes to the retired men
watching calisthenics from the grandstands.
Escapees from the cold work of living,
the old men burnish stories of Yaz and the Babe
and the Splendid Splinter. For a few dreamy dollars,
they sit with their wives all day in the sun,
on their own little seat cushions, wearing soft caps
with visors. Their brave recreational vehicles
grow hot in the parking lot, though they’re
shaded by live oaks and bottlebrush trees
whose soft bristles graze the top-racks.
At four, the spectators leave in pairs, off
to restaurants for Early Bird Specials.
A salamander scuttles across the quiet
visitors’ dugout. The osprey whose nest is atop
the foul pole relaxes. She’s raged all afternoon
at balls hit again and again toward her offspring.
Although December’s frost killed the winter crop,
there’s a pulpy orange-y smell from juice factories….
Down the road, at Cypress Gardens, a woman
trainer flips young alligators over on their backs,
demonstrating their talent for comedy—stroke
their bellies, they’re out cold, instantaneously
snoozing. A schoolgirl on vacation gapes,
wonders if she’d ever be brave enough
to try that, to hold a terrifying beast
and turn it into something cartoon-funny.
She stretches a hand toward the toothy sleeper
then takes a step back, to be safe as she reaches.
This is a lot like that Abraham Lincoln quote about not trusting quotes you find on the internet.
This song makes me feel sad and nostalgic at the same time. I sometimes wonder if baseball deserves all the negative sentiment that it receives today, and if the game’s past really was as great as songs like this make it seem. As with anything else, no doubt there is a tendency to place the past on a higher pedestal than it deserves, but it does make for some pretty good music.
There are a few guys in baseball fortunate enough to be able to bring it late in their career: Roger Clemens was one, and Nolan Ryan was another one. And I’d like to be that kind of a writer, who’s still able to bring the fastball.